joe_biden_web_1.jpgSpecial to South Florida Times

Vice President Joe Biden became the latest high-ranking Democratic party leader to promote the candidacy of Congressman Kendrick Meek for the U.S. Senate.

Biden stood with Meek Sept. 24 at the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood, giving the Floridian a ringing endorsement while raising $500,000 for Democratic candidates.

Biden, at the kickoff press conference, sought to quell concerns raised earlier this year that the White House and national Democrats were wavering in their support of Meek as polls continued to show him trailing his opponents, Republican Marco Rubio and Independent Charlie Crist.

“The support of the president and me is foursquare, 100 percent, unadulterated for the next United States senator from Florida, Kendrick Meek,” Biden said.

President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton have already come to the state to promote Democratic candidates and raise money for the campaign to retain the Democratic majority in Congress.

Acknowledging that voters are frustrated with the economy and Democrats, Biden said there was need “to stand with them right now, especially the middle class, who are taking the brunt of this recession.”

Biden said he was “absolutely confident we are on the right track… that America is on its way back. And I am absolutely confident Florida's coming back.”

The Republican Party today, Biden said, is “not your father's Republican Party; this is the Republican Tea Party. This is a different breed of cat and they’re different people. They have a fundamentally different view. Name me one thing that they’ve proposed to lift the burden and create jobs for those in the middle class.”

Meek said that a vote for him will be a vote for “leadership, representation, health care, responsible foreign policy” and “to make sure that Social Security is never privatized in this country.”

Cynthia Roby may be reached at